Daring to Dream Beyond the Ordinary Certainly Leads us Down Wild Paths. But Any Other Option Falls Short.
I have always considered myself a daring person. But after experiencing a life-changing injury, my definition of what that is has changed. Surfing used to be my motivation for everything. When it started looking like I may never surf at the same level again, it got me asking, What’s the point?
I turned to reading a lot of spiritual books looking for answers. An important lesson I’m learning from one particularly influential book, “A New Earth” by Eckart Tolle is to continue to forge new daring paths. If you find this thought provoking, I hope you’ll read the book.
Happily ever after is a lie
One day you are minding your own business, doing as you were told. You have a nice paycheck and a stable partner. You pay your taxes, you show up to work on time, you find time to exercise and do activities you enjoy a few times per week. Life should be good. After all, you’ve perfectly followed the formula for happiness.
A mad man runs the country.
Money makes the rules.
The Amazon is being burned.
Plastic shows up in the bellies of the fish we eat.
In quiet moments a sense of both emptiness and urgency makes you uncomfortable with the stillness
….Something has gone awfully wrong.
Is it me?
And as you sit there at your desk, inside a concrete building, eating out of a disposable plastic container, with your fossil fuel consuming car parked outside, you realize, “Oh my God, I’m part of the problem.”
That moment marks a shift. You see through this sense of identity you’ve created, you see through the roles you play. Suddenly your stuff doesn’t matter, a better body, a nicer wardrobe, a richer partner, or even better waves – it just doesn’t do it for you anymore.
What used to drive you loses its importance. You start to see the madness of our civilization clearly. You feel separated from it all. You feel as if you are living in no man’s land. Something feels blah.
What is the point?
You start to crave nature, the sea, the mountains, animals, children, a lover. But you can’t just sit cross-legged under a tree listening to your breath until you die. You start to wonder, what is my purpose?
They told you to seek fulfillment in doing, achieving, earning, and building. Well, you tried that, and that is what led to all this madness. Now you find yourself among the lucky few who have awoken from the spell of doing. But you ask, “Now What?”
A sense of purpose
Is helping people the answer? Well, then you depend on people being worse off than you for a sense of your own validity. Maybe the answer is having children and giving selflessly to them? But what will happen when they no longer need you, or if they do not live noteworthy lives?
So you are stuck. When your life was about accomplishments it left you feeling empty. But now that you know accomplishing things doesn’t feel good, you aren’t sure where to go.
Lucky we were given a road map. Just like turtles know how to return to the same beach year after year to lay their eggs, we also know what we were born to do. All we have to do is follow our desires.
Life wants to progress. There is an evolutionary impulse to the universe. It is what makes birds fly south, it’s what makes fish swim upstream. It is also what animates people like Einstein, Elvis and Tessela. It is what moves my pen when my thinking mind is shut down. The best art and scientific breakthroughs are made by people who are just doing what they really love to do.
We each have a cog to turn in the evolution wheel and the only way we can do this is by yielding to this force that has been in motion since before time.
The key is in releasing the desire to become something and simply being what we already are. Our heart is the compass. The things that bring us joy are the things we were meant to do in order to fulfill our vital role in evolution. But following the heart is easier said than done.
It’s scary to leave the well-traveled path!
The purpose of your life is to remember that this animating force not only animates you, it is you. You have been this force all along but there was so much noise you couldn’t see it. Small children know it. The dying know it. It is our job to remember before it is too late.
This is where you must dream, but dream a dream so daring that no one else could have dreamed it except you. Be willing to walk alone on a path cut uniquely for you. It will be wild, you can count on that, but it is the way you must go.
Out of that state you find yourself making small or big changes. Maybe you quit your job or maybe you do it with a different motivation. Maybe you travel, maybe you downsize, maybe you start a business, maybe you take guitar lessons, maybe you leave your partner. Whatever your heart tells you you bravely follow, knowing that the same force that has been moving this whole thing forward all along, is also moving you forward. You can’t fail, you will always be taken care of.
Will I find success?
Rest assured, whatever you do with intense joy you will do very well and it will be extraordinarily successful. In this, fulfillment is already inherent.
For a while, you may feel as though you are floating around in a no man’s land. This is fine. Pick a desire and act on it, be present in the action. Avoid thoughts of judgment about what you are doing. Just do it, and do it with intention. And when you no longer want to be doing it, do the next thing you desire to do. One day you may wake up to find you are living a life beyond anything you could have dreamed up when you were stuck in your false identity.
Dare to act on your dream, be brave enough to face the wild path it brings. What turns you on right now? What lights you up? Here is your permission from the universe. Go for it!